This 4040 campagin started taking shape in 2017. The idea was to have 40% of people driving 40% less by working from home. That's what I did when I started working from home exclusively 9 years ago. When the coronavirus hit in April 2020 and carbon emissions dropped by 17% world wide, it was more like 80% of people driving 80% less. That's not what I was suggesting. 8080 is not sustainable. I believe 4040 is.
We need the national conversation to become: "How can we arrange our lives so that we are keeping this carbon savings, but still have a social life." Not: "How do we get our roaring economy back."
We live in a changed world. Many of my proposals are actually now in effect without changing laws. This virus is unfortunate, but did implement key parts of my political platform most effectively. Let's make sure we make some of these things a lasting change. I've been preaching living locally for years.
OK, I'm going to put the main message up top here. This is what I'm proposing:
A proposal to mandate companies to allow employees to work from home whenever possible. This will take a large part of the responsibility for fighting climate change off of the government and put it directly in the people's hands.
A proposal for a 10% federal tax on all non-commercial electric usage. Proceeds will be directed to renewable energy power plants.
A proposal for an additional 10% federal tax on all non-commercial gasoline use. Proceeds will be directed to renewable energy power plants.
A proposal to legalize marijuana on the federal level but not tax it on the federal level.
The idea behind the non-commercial energy taxes is that when we tax industry, we make it harder for US companies to compete, and that encourages them to ship production out of the country. And that is likely bad for carbon emissions and our economy. So let's just tax non-commercial energy. We need to get the money from somewhere and it encourages people to conserve.
The 4040 bill is designed on the idea that 40% of people could be driving 40% less by working from home. That would reduce traffic and emissions from non-commercial activity by 16%. I've been working from home exclusively for 8 years now. We have the technology to do this. This bill may be unlikely to pass, but we at least need to be talking about it. It's a lot easier than building a million wind turbines! It can lead to all kinds of lifestyle changes that are good for climate change.
I'm not proposing changes to healthcare and education. I don't believe in packaging these issues together. I think that fighting climate change is the urgent need.
►►► My autobiography in (on the donkey) is now freely available online. ◄◄◄
If we were serious about cutting carbon emissions...
Would we be driving to the other side of town to use a computer and the phone?
Would we be packaging climate change action with healthcare reform and free college education? Isn't getting bipartisan action on climate change hard enough by itself?
Would we be running our furnace at night while we are sleeping in a warm bed?
Walls, wind turbines, dialysis. Pick ONE!
Don Merrill interviewed me at KBOO studios this morning. The interview can be heard at http://soundcloud.com/interviewer-1/charles-rand-barnett-interview. He was well versed on my platform and life. And it does look like I'm a good interview subject. It went well for a first interview. My platform was communitcated!
I've been reading Mr Money Mustache lately. Lots of parallels here. Biking! I recently got rid of my car. I've been working from home for so long, I just don't need it. I'm spending about $10/month on powered transportation now. I certainly wouldn't call myself a minimalist or frugal, but I do think about all the things that I do and do my best to conserve when I can. Looking back on 30 years of working, only about 4 years were spent driving to an office every day. Half of the rest of the time I was bike commuting several days a week and the other half of the time I was working from home. It's definitely a big ticket savings. Since I sold my car though, I've mainly been walking. I'll even do a 10 mile walk.
My advertising efforts were making an impact, but I got into a bit of a financial emergency and paid work became the priority again. The plan for the future is to make an impact with music. It's a better use of my time than going door to door. We'll see what happens. It's not looking like I'll make any significant impact for 02-02-2020. I like the idea of making Ground Hog's Day the focus each year though. It's almost never too late, right? -And, every day is Ground Hog's Day!
I'm still passionate about this political platform, but I'm feeling like it is a finished product. My current summary is this...
If we tax too much, we'll end up with yellow vest protests. If we don't have a major conservation effort, it won't seem like we are doing anything. Conservation doesn't take much money and can make an impact very quickly. It sure would be something to see it happen.
Some people say that renewable power is now cost effective to fossil fuel power. I think most of us think I smell a rat.
It may be cost effective watt to watt, but there is no way that takes into account the intermittency of wind and solar. Obviously you don't get power from solar at night. Wind is regional and not totally reliable. There will certainly be times when you get absolutely no power from either source. What do you do then?
If you want power at those times, you'll need practically all the fossil fuel plants that we have now. And that means that every renewable plant is an additional cost.
Of course that isn't the whole picture either. When the solar and wind is working, you are not using fossil fuel sources. But still, when you hear people talk about 100% renewable power, it just isn't the truth.
I'm not an environmental scientist. I'm a computer programmer. I use logic all day long. I trust things I hear in the news and the classroom. I'm human. This is how I see things. Conservation makes sense! Any power that isn't used is power that doesn't have to be generated. It's power plants that don't have to be built.
I'm not saying that we need to give up on travel and material possesions. I'm simply saying that American's are known as the biggest consumers in the world. We can certainly afford to trim our margins. It may even be fun to see this kind of action in the national news! Challenging each other to make a 20-40% carbon savings. The daily grind of it all.
A next level climate protest would have people use considerably less energy on a specific day. It's one thing to gather a few thousand people downtown, but it is quite another thing to have 40% of people (2 in every 5 people) using less energy. It's more than a protest, it is the action that is needed.
My Energy Usage and Energy Calculator say that I use my furnace 50% less when I do not have it on at night and use it sporadically during the day. I do not know how many houses that strategy can work for. I assume that it is a lot though.
It could be done every Friday. It could be done on 02-02-2020 or the weeks surrounding February 2nd. We could move the needle overnight and the power companies could measure it. I'm sure there are 40% of people that believe climate change is a problem. Can we do something about it? Well, it's going to take more than me typing a few characters on my keyboard. I don't even use social media! I do come up with ideas though. This is what needs to be done. Move the needle.
Analysis: Can Move the Needle Work?
The short answer is YES. I save on electricity, natural gas and gasoline by consciously reducing usage. Some people are doing the same thing I'm doing. Some people will not do these things. The real question is how many new people can be brought on board?
Can the energy companies measure the difference on Feb. 2nd? That's an interesting question. Our meters are read once a month, but they can certainly see the entire load at any specific time, can't they? I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone not use power on a certain day. I'm just suggesting people reduce power consumption. No need to go crazy with it. And just like the movie, "Every day is Ground Hog's Day." I'm urging people to give this a shot for the week before and the week after Sunday Feb. 2nd for a bigger impact. I think the energy drop can make the news.
I'm going to distribute flyers, a lot of flyers. But I'm depending on the people of Portland to spread the word, especially on social media. If it fails because I can't get the word out to enough people, well that's a failure I can live with as long as I give it everything I have. But if it fails because people are not willing or able to make the carbon savings... Well, that is what the test is really about. Testing my platform. Can people make the change? Does it work? If people get the message and it doesn't work, then my whole platform is garbage. I think it's a good platform. A real mixture of conservation and building renewable energy. I hope that we can put it to a good test.
I'm glad this is now a test of my platform and not a test of winning an election. I don't want to be just some bubble on a government form! That's why this is 4040in2020.com instead of randbarnett.com. We are all a part of the solution.
This is a national campaign to mitigate the effects of climate change.
I'm running for US Representative from Portland Oregon (a federal office). Bills that tax have to be introduced in congress.
Our country is the biggest bloc of wealthy consumers in the history of the known universe. Ignoring climate change in favor of more wealth is an idiotic concept in my opinion.
I'm not running this campaign to simply get a job in Washington. I have a good career. I don't even want to move there. I love my house in Portland! But I do want to see serious national discussion about real world climate change solutions. I want an end to this Trump rhetoric. I want these ideas to be seriously debated on a national scale. I want the bills put in the hopper.
From what I've seen, the Drawdown plan makes the most sense aside from my 4040 plan. The two can work together. If a large bloc of people get behind making a real carbon savings overnight, then we can begin the serious work of radically changing our energy infrastructure.
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